You've probably seen all of the recaps and box scores you need to by this point, so let's get to the meat of it-
- While all the mainstream press, including Wyshynski, is declaring Dustin Byfuglilen the second coming after finally getting the better of Chris Pronger, that simply isn't the case...at least not entirely. Yes, Buff had a fantastic game with a great stat line and one thunderous hit on Pronger that all televises and publishes well, but by no means did Dustin Byfuglien put this team on his back and will it to victory. This was a depth win, plain and simple.
While Pronger is unequivocally a fuckwit, he was right in stating in his post-game presser that the reason for his game 5 emergence is that Buff "is certainly well rested", and I'm inclined to agree. In the first four games of the series, we saw couldn't-give-less-of-a-shit, regular season Buff out there against Pronger, who was willing to do everything to stop him, rules be damned, and greatly diminished Byfuglien's will to compete. In getting regular (read: easier) shifts against the likes of Braydon Coburn, Kimmo Timonen, et al, whom he faced far more frequently, Buff's balls certainly got a lot bigger out there. His first goal he was allowed to stand untouched at the top of the crease because Pronger was in the box. Again, this is taking nothing away from what he did on the ice, but it's just irritating to me to see this scenario get conflated to something it's not.
- And while we're talking about Pronger, yes his -5 and -19 CORSI, along with the fact that he was on the ice for 6 of the Hawks goals and in the box for the other one is all hilarious, clearly the worst game of his career, so don't think it's going to happen again on Wednesday. Say whatever you want about his tactics and presence, the fact of the matter is that he's a hell of a hockey player, and won't let this happen again.
- That being said, it's really amazing what happens when you make him skate, rather than just let him punish forwards at the top of the crease, isn't it? We, along with numerous other blogs, called for the top line to be broken up in order to force Laviolette to choose where to use Pronger, and he chose wrong pretty much every time last night.
- Any time the Hawks want to contain Ville Leino is fine by me.
- After seeing replays of it, the Timonen goal should have been blown dead with Scott Hartnell interfering with Niemi, but that doesn't change the fact that that puck needed to be out of the zone.
- Niemi also HAS to cover that first goal by the way. Inexcusable.
Patrick Sharp has been the most consistent Hawk forward for this entire playoff run, and his contributions in again moving back to center will hopefully not be overshadowed. Both his touch pass to spring Andrew Ladd prior to the Kane goal and Sharp's own marker were things of absolute beauty.
- Call me an apologist, but despite being saddled with a -3, I thought Marian Hossa was very effective last night, as he gave Jonathan Toews far more room to operate than he had when he was with Kane and Buff.
- The Hawks score two power play goals and don't allow one from the Flyers and win? Who'd have thought that would work?
- One more to go, and it will be the most difficult task for our Men of Four Feathers to date. Lavvy has yet to tip his hand as to his starting goaltender for Wednesday, but if the Hawks put forth another effort like this, it won't make a difference. One more.